I entered this week with strong intentions of experiencing what others have when they volunteered for exercises and that, I did; and it was great!
We started the day off with Elán (or life-fullness) – which feels like second nature when warming up now. As the days and weeks progress, the relationship I have with my body and the ground has also progressed. Habitually, I tend to stay ‘above the ground’ as opposed to being grounded but since revisiting the contact with the floor, I feel am starting to feel so much more grounded physically as well mentally. The exploration of the different body parts and not actually knowing what will come next in my time on the floor is more exciting than being intelligent about it; it’s all about discovery.
We started to explore the idea of push and pull with a partner and how that relationship can evolve into something much more if we just focused and released the head. I was paired with Marisa and just started to counter balance each other’s weight but our heads immediately locked as though we needed to be in control of our movements and then it just felt abnormal, because my body was quite free and fluid whilst my head was just fixed in one position. Once we were reminded by David to release the head, the breath deepened and the floor was my friend again. Once that was released, Marisa and I were rolling on the floor, creating a story with just the resistance alone, but I felt sisterhood. I felt aggression but I felt we shared that together. Suddenly, I found a strength that I don’t necessarily use to my advantage all the time and I literally just stood in one place whilst pushing one place whilst Marisa was using different tactics to try and move me. At that moment, I found sisterhood within Marisa. She was my little sister trying to win one over me and I was like “no honey, I am the bigger sister, you need to just pipe down and LOVE ME!” I just remember looking into her eyes and seeing warmth but the strength was pulsing between us- very powerful.
The Frozen Lake
“What does this look like to you?” We were all faced with a plastic sheet on the floor and the first thing that came to my head was a frozen lake. The temperature in the room was cold too so that stimulated my imagination further. Everyone else was suggesting clinical or crime scenes but all I saw was peace and water. It was beautiful; and what then upset me was that it was just a sheet of plastic. Then another thought came to my head; is this what our children and their children will do? Imagining man made products as something that was once natural and beautiful but has now gone because of pollution in the sea caused by PLASTIC! Since reading Naomi Klein’s book and our process, I’ve been made aware of the connections between every little thing; sometimes it’s a blessing but most of the time I just blame myself for using plastic or anything that may harm the planet and that’s what I was doing then. However, I volunteered to dance on top of the sheet with music picked by David and it was the most peaceful I have been in a while. To me, however, I was not dancing. I was merely seeing the ocean for the first time. Cold, but beautiful. Shallow but I saw the depths within the waves. I could feel me imitating the ripples of the water which then caused undulations in my body, but it felt so free and innocent. Before the exercise, David told me not choreograph but to just feel it. Like the warm up, I just discovered. I discovered the ripple patterns of the ocean and, what it’d be like if it was frozen. My imagination went into hyperdrive but I had so much fun and I felt like a young Shanez not having a care in the world! I could feel myself anticipating my mum’s voice ruining the moment as she would never let young Shanez play by water; I was completely in it.
Scott then went under it and it was so interesting as my image of water disappeared. It looked more like a child under a parachute and he too looked like he was discovering. Seeing the cause and effect of things. But then he lost control of it as we fought back and it was (as Liam said) “like mankind was fighting against what’s been created”. The contrast between mine and his was very interesting but the synchronicity was still present.
Again, with the plastic sheet, Chloe and Tom did an exercise where he was under the plastic sheet, dead, whilst she was on top trying to get to them. It was harrowing to watch as Tom’s body was so lifeless and out of reach; but it was Chloe’s heartache that resonated more than anything. Everything about her reaction was so genuine and deep that it became beautifully harrowing.
“Push and pull was all I saw. Something was attracting Chloe but the reality of what was happening kept pulling her back”.
This exercise was by the most powerful exercise I have ever done. It forced me to confront my beliefs and others’ beliefs that may or may not coincide with my own, and all we could say is yes or no. It did take quite a while for me to properly get into it because I didn’t just want to run to a wall and say yes or no with no belief behind it. I felt that at times, I was doing that because I was digging deep to what I believe. It was when I started to get personal with myself that I started to protest. Race was my biggest conflict. Suddenly, issues from secondary school started pouring in and I had to just let them out as I suppressed them for so long. But like I said in the learning circle, “the wall was not absorbing my questions”. It was only when I confronted myself in the mirror that I saw the 13 year old Shanez that had to deal with all that sh*t. I saw the only black girl in the room. Dark skinned. I saw her cry uncontrollably and her bullies beside her laughing whilst she did. I saw the little girl that didn’t want to live anymore and that was horrible. Having to confront that face on was the hardest thing I have ever had to do but I did it! And slowly it started to fade away after I came back into the room. I still saw a dark-skinned girl, but now one who is strong and bloody well knows it! I felt everyone’s warmth and it was beautiful.
“You said I’m just a dark-skinned girl who won’t fit in. Then I looked in the mirror and saw my family and I fit in perfectly”.
What this week has taught me is that at some point in your life, you will be confronted by things from your past and you must learn not to suppress. There were also many things that we had done this week that are now starting to form connections that you don’t necessarily see with tunnel vision. But by using ‘Preparation’ (David’s first stage of Creative Practice) we see these exercises weave in out of each other. These connections between one thing and another are starting to form our pathway from ‘Preparation to Origination’.